Messenger #writephoto

corvid in flight - Sue Vincent

Picking up the football which Micheal had kicked across the road, I looked up and saw a huge black bird in an nearby tree. I wasn’t sure what the bird was so I thought about the arrow diagram poster at school. Black and yellow and smallish; blackbird. All black with a grey beak; rook. Sooty black and cries loudly; crow.

‘It’s a raven that is,’ Michael said over my shoulder.

I jumped because I didn’t know he was there. I turned and pulled a face at him.

‘How do you know?’ I pouted.

‘Because I’ve seen them at the Tower of London,’ he replied.

I stuck my tongue out at him. He didn’t seem to notice and carried on talking.

‘They say if all the ravens leave the tower then England falls.’

‘What does this mean?’ I asked.

‘Don’t know,’ Michael shrugged.

We both watched the raven then with a large caw sound, it flapped its large wings and took off.

‘My granny says ravens are the messengers of witches,’ Michael added.

‘Messengers of witches?’ I repeated to myself.

He looked at me as if he knew I didn’t believe what his granny said.

‘It’s true,’ he snapped, ‘a witch tells a raven to bring her ingredients for potions and to communicate with other witches.’

‘I thought they had cats,’ I answered slowly.

‘They do, but ravens are better. They are ancient and know old magic,’ Micheal added.

I wanted to ask him if he really believed in all of this. We were too old for fairy tales but still young enough to think that supernatural people were real.

‘Maybe he’s come to take you away,’ Michael spoke in a ghoulish voice.

I shivered. hating how he stretchered the words and made his voice drip with creepiness.

‘Ravens can’t kidnap people!’ I snapped.

‘No, but they can find people who have the potential to become witches and led the head witch to them.’ Michael explained.

I pushed the ball into his chest, shoving him backwards. He was bigger and older then me but he wasn’t expecting it so stumbled back.

‘That’s so not true! A bird is just a bird And there are no witches!’ I shouted and stormed off.

I ran home which was only a few streets away. I didn’t know why I suddenly felt upset about what he had said until I saw the raven again. He was sitting on the left gate post of my house fence.

‘Hi,’ I said shyly.

He was a huge bird up close and his beak looked sharp. He put his head to one side, cawed more softly then before and jumped into my front garden. I opened the gate and watched him hopping up the path to the front door.

And that was the day my life changed…

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/13/thursday-photo-prompt-messenger-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Fleeing Eternal Darkness

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It was hard to go back there but I had to do it. Sinking into one of the church pews which looked still stable though it creaked loudly under me, I looked around. Surprisingly, the place wasn’t in bad shape for having been abandoned for forty-seven years. Yes, the roof had let water in so there was dampness and rot. People had taken a lot of things to salvage, but the colored glass windows with their biblical scenes were still intact.

Resting against my walking stick, I knew breathing the air in here would be bad but I had to stay as long as it took. Ignoring the shaking of my body, I cast my mind back and plunged myself into that first Sunday of July 1970.

My family had been coming to this little village church for generations and this seemed like any normal Sunday service. I had my wife with me and our two boys, who were longing to be playing about outside. Then the priest announced a special moment in the history of our church; the first exorcism to take place here! Everyone who had been dozing or daydream began to pay attention again.

A thirteen year old girl, wearing only a white dress, was dragged on by two burly men, I knew to be brothers. She was screaming and crying, her loose red hair flying everywhere. I didn’t recognise her and being a doctor I knew every child in the village. I frowned and half rose from my pew, my gut saying something wasn’t right.

‘This girl,’ the priest began having to yell over the child, ‘has been possessed by demons and I shall end her suffering by removing them from her body and mind!’

The congregation gasped and began muttering. I caught the glare of my wife but it was too late, I was on my feet and challenging.

‘Who is this girl?’ I cried out ‘and how do you know she is possessed? She seems nothing more then a frighted child to me!’

Eyes turned towards me and a few people joined my line of questioning.

‘This is beyond your medications, Doctor!’ the priest roared back at me.

I felt a tug on my sleeve and knew it was my wife, but I ignored her and carried on, ‘You know that for a fact do you? Let me see her!’

I stepped out of the pew and strolled up towards them. The girl was still screaming and crying, struggling to get away from the massive hands holding her down. The priest moved aside, hand gesturing me to inspect the child.

Reaching for her, she tried to bite me, but the brothers held her back. I felt her forehead, looked into her eyes and mouth as much as I could. She was drenched in sweat and looked very unwell now that she had fallen silent.

‘She is feverish,’ I declared, ‘she’s merely ill.’

‘No!’ the priest snapped.

He rushed at me, sweeping me aside and I tumbled to the floor. I heard him chanting loudly in Latin and the girl screaming. Looking up, I saw the girl fling her head back and open her mouth. A red mist poured out of her and forms seemed to take shape.

I scrambled up off the floor and back to my wife and boys. The congregation were crying and shouting things out, but no one could hear each other because the scream now coming from the girl was deafening. I tried to scoop up my family and get them out of the church but it was too late. The demons flew at us all, forcing their way inside of everyone and taking over.

I don’t remember much after that. Everyone was stumbling out of the church, feeling like they had to get far away from everything that was Holy. I walked my wife and boys back home, hoping the fresh air would help, but we all felt sick when we arrived. We spent days resting, whatever had happened seemed to become like a faded dream.

But we were cursed now. Everyone in the village had a demon inside of them and we found it harder to control ourselves and remain good. I moved my family away a year later, my wife was seriously ill and my boys were running wild. It helped a little, but it wasn’t enough and no one seemed able to heal us.

(Inspired from: https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/writing-prompts-for-monday-july-10-2017/ with thanks)

Freak School

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The first time I found out my girls’ boarding school was haunted, I was crying in the library. The bullies had singled me out from day one as the ugly geek girl which wasn’t true. I was hiding in the corner of the reference section which no one but the teachers visited when something caught my eyes.

At first I thought it was because my vision was blurred by tears but then the fuzzy white mist before me began taking shape. I dried my face and stopped sniffing as the ghostly form of a young teenage girl appeared. She was shorter then me, with pig tailed hair and long dress.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked, her voice whispery and as light as a feather.

Anybody else might have freaked out, but I was use to ghosts. I just hadn’t expected to see one at school!

‘The other girls are being mean to me,’ I muttered.

‘Girls were mean to me once too,’ the ghost responded.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Annabelle. What’s your’s?’

‘Becky. How did you die?’

The ghost floated and turned about as if to take the library in. I wondered if she knew she was dead. Sometimes, ghosts didn’t know that.

‘It was an accident, I think, I fell down the grand staircase,’ Annabelle answered as thoughtfully as a ghost could.

‘Oh, how terrible!’ I replied.

‘It was a long, long time ago. It doesn’t matter. It’s been ages since I last found someone who could see me. Are you a witch or a medium?’

I shrugged, ‘I’m not sure.’

Annabelle sank down and came into a sitting position just above the floor. The library was silent. School was well over for the day and everyone had gone to eat or play.

‘Tell me about these girls. I’ll scare them good for you if you like,’ Annabelle added.

‘You’d do that?’ I asked, wiping my face with a hankie.

‘Sure. We’re going to be best friends, right?’

The ghost smiled and her face lit up.

I had a bad feeling in my belly, something wasn’t right here…..but Annabelle was just a little ghost. What harm could she really do?

‘Okay,’ I said slowly then I told her about the five girls who had been bullying me.

The next day, Darcy was missing from class. She had been the girl who had called me names and put chewing gum in my hair. The teacher said she was unwell, she had fallen out of bed hit her head badly.  A few days later, we were told she had been taken to hospital in a comma, she might never recover.

I tried to tell myself that my new ghost friend couldn’t have had anything to do with that that. Lots of people fall out of bed in the middle of the night, don’t they? The bad feeling I had before came back and I tried to find Annabelle to ask her, but I couldn’t make contact.

On the second day, Mabel tripped and broke both her legs. She had stolen my things, including my shoes and hide them. Mabel claimed someone pushed her but there’d been no one there. She was taken to hospital but her legs didn’t mend and she had to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She never came back to school either.

That night, I crept from my bed and went to the library. Sitting in the reference section, I called Annabelle to me using a candle and a charm my great-grandmother had given me. I watched a white mist began to take a girl like shape.

‘Hello, Becky,’ Annabelle said cheerfully.

‘Two girls have been hurt now, did you have anything to do with that?’ I asked.

Annabelle’s face seemed to frown then she nodded, ‘They were mean to you, so I was mean to them.’

‘No!’ I cried, ‘that’s not what I meant for you to do!’

‘Do you want me to stop?’ Annabelle asked.

I held back a breath and tears. The other girls were still picking on me, but things had started getting worse. They were upset their friends were gone and taking it out on me. A part of me wanted them all gone but what Annabelle was doing was wrong.

‘Say it. Tell me to stop and I will,’ Annabelle pressed.

‘You have to find a different way. Just scare them a little. That’s all. Promise?’

‘Yes,’ Annabelle answered and vanished.

Leaning back against a bookcase, I listened to the silence for a few moments then made my way back to bed.

The next evening, Sallie was found almost drowned in the bath. Sallie had held me down whilst the other girls had hit and kicked me. She was a big girl, so it was hard to imagine anything like that happening to her. They took her hospital and she went home afterwards, but was so traumatised she didn’t come back to school that year.

Pacing my room, I tried to reach out to any ghosts but there didn’t seem to be any around. I went bed, tried and sad. This was all my fault and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. Perhaps it would be best just to end things with Annabelle. If we weren’t friends any more she’d have no reason to hurt the other two girls.

The next day was dull and rainy. The lessons were boring and I couldn’t think clearly. Everyone seemed emotional too and confused. What was going on around here that could cause three girls to have freak accidents in a row? The guilt hung over me like a storm and I couldn’t wait till the evening to speak to Annabelle.

I rushed to the library after my last class and even though it was busy, I wiggled my way into the reference section and called the ghost to me. It took awhile. I guess because ghosts are weaker during the day but also because she knew I was mad with her. When the mist appeared, I asked her why even before her form had time to settle.

‘It was a accident. I didn’t mean to hold her down for so long,’ Annabelle replied sadly.

‘She almost died!’ I hissed back.

‘I was only trying to help you. Didn’t you want that? Aren’t we best friends?’ Annabelle asked.

I shook my head, ‘not any more we aren’t. I never want to see you again and you stay away from the other two girls got it?’

Annabelle’s ghostly face flashed with anger and in a puff she was gone.

I felt better but the next night I was awoken by screams. Scrambling from my bed, I saw that the last two girls, Nadia and Paula had fallen down the grand staircase. They were badly hurt and both claimed a ghost girl had attacked them in the night and chased them till they had bumped together at the top of the stairs and fallen down.

No one believed them of course, expect for me and after that I never saw Annabelle again.

Zombie Office

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Nothing ever got done in the zombie office. By the time most of the workers got in it was mid-day and when the last of them left it was almost nighttime. The air smelt like blood, over-cooked meat and rot which wasn’t something a non-zombie could stomach for long. Also, everything felt sticky and had strange dried prints on it from things no one wanted to knew about.

Watching the zombies from his large office window, the new manager called the chief executive up and said, ‘why have we hired zombies? They hardly get any work done and their office is a mess! Wouldn’t normal people be better?’

The chief executive breathed heavily down the phone and replied, ‘I understand but if we could’ve hired “normal” people we would’ve done.’

‘What do you mean?’ the new manager asked.

‘Well….We’re a bit short on humans at the moment,’ the chief executive explained.

‘I see……’ the manager trailed.

‘Don’t worry about it. The zombies will get their tasks done soon enough. If you need something rushed get a witch or warlock in office WW twenty-eight to do it,’ the chief executive added then put the phone down.

The new manager signed and turned away from that window to another. This one looked out of the city. He could see a dark grey gloomy sky and lines of black smoke raising upwards. Most of the buildings were burnt and or abandoned, those that were still occupied barely hung on to their grey and brown colours.

The Supernatural Take Over really wasn’t going to plan.

Rain #SoCS

Rain, Floor, Water, Wet, Drops

I stood in the street and let the rain wash the blood off me. My mind which had been running wild seconds before began to grow calm and I could think clearly again. I couldn’t hear anything other then the rain dripping off things and the breeze shaking the trees.

What had I been expecting? People to suddenly burst from their houses, crowd me and demand to know what had happened? Police to turn up and march me away to a padded cell? Whatever I’d been thinking didn’t happen and I found myself totally alone in the rain.

Looking down at my feet and I watched the watered down blood mingling. It was a faded pink colour and soon enough it would be nothing. I tossed my head to the sky and let the feel of the rain take me away.

I was free at last.

 

(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/23/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-2417/ with thanks.)

Desert

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In the desert no one can remember your name because once you enter the red sand you are lost to all time in an accidentally wormhole. Your life is wiped out and those that knew you forget instantly as if you had never been born. The wormhole is eternal and as you drift through you see flashes of things. Sometimes you know these things – a rainbow, an expensive take away coffee cup but most of the times there’s just flashes of colour. You will die here in days, weeks maybe a month because no one gets out for that is the nature of a red sand wormhole.

What Wasn’t There

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Introduction

My name is Bobby Wallbank. I’m a security guard for a company that buys up old buildings and land to do them up into housing, offices and shops. I’m use to the strange goings on in the night. All my life I’ve been able to ‘see’ and ‘sense’ the supernatural. The gift has always run in my family and many have made good use of it. My gran was a witch, my mother a healer, a second cousin a medium. I decided I needed normality, but sometimes I can’t ignore the gift. 

I keep a diary each year of the strange things I’ve seen/sensed either on CCTV cameras or my own eyes. I like to tab favourite pages; the supernatural happens I like the most and were rare. 

Friday 27th January 2017. 2:37 am.

A shopping trolley which had been laying on it side in the back car park for five hours started appearing and disappearing about four times before totally vanishing. The camera froze soon after. Went out to check and there was no sign of the trolley. Camera started working again soon after. 

Wednesday 1st March 2017. 3:56 am.

Saw a man dressed in a suit hurrying down the street. He suddenly disappeared beside a wall. Couldn’t find no trace of him on any of the cameras. Rewinding the footage, couldn’t see the man again. I know he was there though. He had been wearing a strange hat and carrying a briefcase. 

Thursday 20th April 2017, 1:09 am. 

For half an hour a cat was seemingly fighting with something invisible. Had complete camera coverage. The cat was acting aggressive and defensive, it didn’t seem to be playing. Cat ran off. Went to inspect and had strange creepy feeling of being watched. Felt something breathing on me. Walked around to shake it off before returning to office. Was on edge for the rest of the shift.

Monday 15th  May 2017, 4:46 am. 

Was walking around when heard moaning from a locked room. Got in and saw nothing. On leaving the room, felt a coldness and as if fingers were pressing against my back. Turning, saw the shape of something small. I called out hello? and a girl’s voice answered back. Who are you? I asked. Mummy, the voice replied. I asked more questions, but got nothing else. I left the door opened and told the child she was free to go.   

Friday 19th May 2017, 3:59 am. 

Was walking in the area I had heard the girl on Monday. I checked the room and it had been left unlocked. Heard crying, but when I called out, got no answer. Walked away and the crying carried on. During my second walk around, I went into the room again and put a small teddy bear on the floor. The crying stopped. I got the sense that girl is trapped there. I’m not sure if she was murdered or died from something else. Tried talking again, but didn’t hear anything else. 

Saturday 3rd June 2017, 2:27 am. 

Too much is happening and it’s making me regret agreeing to cover this shift. The other security person up and left, not sure why but maybe he couldn’t hack the supernatural stuff that’s happening. It looks like a group broke in last weekend and did some kind of thing that called a demon to the building. There’s been a lot of loud bangs and  flashes of light. Every time I walk around, I get this sense of evil and I want to leave. I can’t though. Maybe I can find someone to remove this demon. I heard more crying and screams too and there has been so many shadow things. 

I heard whispering voices asking for help and telling me to beware. I got the idea the good supernatural were trying to protect me but this evil is too powerful. On my break at Midnight, I felt this burning on my shoulder and when I looked I had three long red scratches down my shoulder. I washed them in water and that helped, but I can still feel them. 

Saturday 3rd June 2017, 6:00 am.

Getting ready to leave and everything is quiet here. The scratches from a few hours ago have faded and I’ve not left the office since. The CCTV have been playing up though. Some cameras blacking out and losing connection, others becoming static. The noises too have kept up. I’m glad to be getting out of here.

Monday 5th June 2017, 10: 45 pm.

Brought a friend tonight to help get rid of the demon and release some of the ghosts. What she did seems to have worked and the place is settled once more. Won’t really know for a while though. Sometimes these demons like to pop up again. I feel better too. It was attaching itself to me, I could feel it. I’ve been having weird dreams, about a dark red and black creature chasing me. I don’t remember seeing the demon fully. She give me some stuff to bless myself and the house with. Maybe I might use some in the office too. 

Friday 9th June 2017, 3:11 am.

Everything is quiet here still. There’s been no supernatural happenings and I’m feeling fine. A new woman has been hired for the weekends and to cover me, she seems nice. I’ve been teaching the ropes all shift and now she’s gone for her first walk around alone. 

Monday 19th June 2017, 11:20 pm.

She gone missing, the new woman. Yesterday she clocked in and didn’t clock out. An easy mistake to make when you are tried but she never returned home. Her family have reported her missing and lots of searching has been happening. I got asked to look through hours of footage to find out what happened to her. Maybe she did leave and went missing off site? I couldn’t find the truth though. 

No CCTV camera has her last moments. I got one of her entering the corridor where the I’ve heard the girl crying and that’s it no more. A connect error message appears on all screens in that area. So she goes in but never comes out again. 

I’ve done one walk inside now and I’ve come across nothing but the traces of all the people who’ve been through today. I even asked the ghosts to help, but nothing has come of it. I hope it’s just a simple thing that she got lost and fell or she decided she’d had enough and ran away.

A part of me knows that’s not true though. She’d been taken by that demon! 

Thursday 22nd June 2017, Midnight. 

She is still missing and everyone is restless. I have seen supernatural things in the buildings and my home. Voices calling me, telling me where to go and that I must help them. I thought she had come to me at one point but she wasn’t there long. Lights have been flicking on and off, strange lights have been coming and going, sometimes close enough for me to feel how ice cold they are. Tools and other things have been moved around, stones thrown at me and others.

I know what I must do. I came here tonight to set things right. I know what’s at risk. I’m not trying to get her back either, she’s already gone. But I got to stop the demon before he takes anyone else. I’m prepared and ready to go.

I’m leaving my diary here just in case I don’t come back.  

Twilight #writephoto

 

Twilight was the most dangerous part of the day. As the sun set and the moon rose the portal between worlds became unstable. Evil leaked through like oil into a river, covering everything it could. People hide, frightened by stories travellers told of the things that ruled the night.

 

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/15/thursday-photo-prompt-twilight-writephoto/ with thanks)

Shadow

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There’s a shadow on my wall and no matter what I do it won’t go away.

The Basement (Part 7)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

All I could breath in was soil and decay. My ears were ringing, partly deafening me. I went over to my wife and pressed my back against the door too. A part of me didn’t think this flimsy wood would keep the skeletons back.

‘Are you hurt?’ Raven asked me.

‘I don’t think so…’ I trailed.

I was in too much shock to be thinking clearly. I tried to listen through the door, but the sounds were muffled. I reached for Raven’s hand and held it tightly. We listened and waited for the skeletons. A minute later, we heard banging and groaning. The door vibrated along our backs.

‘Let’s make a run for it. We can lose them in the cellars,’ Raven spoke.

Arming herself once again with the bits of coffin lid she had tossed aside, my wife walked a few steps then broke in a jog. I followed, not sure what else to do but thinking that Raven might be right. The cellars were a twisted maze and we should easily reached the house again before the skeletons got anywhere near us.

We headed back through the dirt tunnel, not talking just concentrating. Images flashed by me; the cloth rags around the bones, the shuffling footsteps, the grinning jaws, the missing teeth. The crumbled skeletons piling at my feet and Raven, my amazing woman, fighting then and taking so many down.

Why had they attacked us? How had they come to life? I had thought the house might be haunted…by ghosts and normal creepiness, but this? Animated skeletons in the basement? My brain was getting tried trying to answer those questions and more. My body was aching all over and the torch felt so heavy in my hand.

From behind us, the door broke down, sending a cloud of dirty towards us. I stole looks back and saw the skeletons pulling themselves out of the debris. At the back of my mind, I had been hoping that the door would stop them. Maybe, there’d been some magic seal or something that would stop them and trap the skeletons like before when we hadn’t entered.

Raven raced ahead of me and her torch light become just a dot. I tried to pick up speed, but I was too tried. Slowly and without wanting to, I came to a stop. Doubling over, I tried to breath but my throat was burning. Everything seemed to spin around me, waving in and out of focus like fast changing storm clouds. I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going down.

Claws in my leg, right between the top of my boot of the cuffs of my black jeans. The clattering of loose teeth and clicking of bones, brought the last few minutes back into my head. I snapped awake, twisting around, thinking it had all been a dream, but then I realised I was laying face down in musty soil, my fingers hitting against a torch.

‘Crow? Crow? Where are you?’ Raven’s voice was screaming in the distance.

I took a deep breath and grabbing the torch, swung back at it. I heard the connection of plastic and bone. The tightness on my leg released and I scrambled upwards. Not looking back as I had enough fuel for nightmares to last the rest of my life, I bolted down the rest of the soil passage way and into Raven.

She had been coming back for me and I sent us both sprawling to the floor.

‘Are you okay? Where did you go?’ Raven gushed.

‘I tripped. I’m fine,’ I said.

We hugged tightly and helped each other up. We walked the rest of the way, holding each other as if we had been for a simple stroll around the rose gardens. Gratefully, I hobbled through the doorway and into the cellar.

I slummed down, slipping out of Raven’s arms. Pain was spiking through my ankle. I heard her closing the door and scrambling around.

‘What you doing?’ I mumbled.

‘Slowing them down,’ Raven replied.

I eased myself up  and watched my wife, shoving wood planks up against the door to block it. I should help, I wanted to help, but I couldn’t move. Laying down seemed the best thing to do right now.  Sleep was also good. I shut my eyes and felt myself drift.

‘Crow!’

A hand slapped my face and I awoke quickly.

‘You are hurt,’ Raven said.

In the torch light I could see her face was a worried and dirt streaked. The warrior seemed to be wearing out of her.

‘Not really. I’m okay, just my ankle….I twisted it,’ I told her.

Raven helped me up and I hobbled along side her. We went back through the cellar rooms till I thought we must be lost because it had been so long and everything looked the same.

‘We need to stop. I can’t go on,’ I said and aimed myself towards the floor.

Raven let me go and I sank down heavily like a anchor. I pressed my back against the cold, damp wall and looked up at Raven. She was tried. Her shoulders were slumped, her arms dragging downwards and she was breathing more deeply then I had seen her do so before.

She sat down next to me. Her boots scrapping the ground. She brought her knees up and pressed her face into them with some difficulty given her curvy frame.

We were silent. The darkness filled the void between us. I shut my eyes and let sleep claim me. I dreamed of nothing, just pools of darkness.

Raven shuffling brought me back too. We hadn’t turned the torches out, at least I don’t recall if we did and now Raven was bashing her’s in her palm and flicking the switch on and off.

I felt for mine and checked it. The beam seemed a bit dimmer but it was still working.

‘How much further?’ I asked.

‘Not far,’ Raven replied giving up with her torch, ‘I’m sure we must nearly be there.’

‘How sure?’

Raven looked at me her face serious then crumbling, ‘I don’t know…’

‘Are we lost?’

‘I…think so,’ Raven chocked, ‘I was too worried about you and I wasn’t thinking…’

‘It’s okay,’ I said softly, rubbing her back, ‘we’ll figure it out.’

Raven nodded.

We steeled ourselves and started walking again. This time I paid attention to the rooms, noticing the few bits and pieces as we passed. Twice we walked back into the final room and we heard from the hidden doorway banging and groaning. The door was strangely holding the skeletons back.

Finally, Raven found some sharp stones and we began marking the rooms as we went through them. That helped and at last we found the staircase. Heading upwards, I wondered what condition things would be in, but my mind was really far from that. I wanted to eat, sleep and hold my wife tightly.

Raven opened the door and went though to collapse at the kitchen table. I joined her, noticing how bright it was and how dirty we both were. My glass of half drunk water from hours ago was still on the table. I picked it up and drained it. Getting up, I went to the sank and drink straight from the table. I scrubbed my hands and face.

I got Raven a glass of water and watched her drink it slowly.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘I think so…’

‘Listen, Raven…’

‘I love you, Crow.’

‘I love you too,’ I replied.

‘And this house is just perfect,’ she add, getting up and hugging me, ‘I can’t believe it, skeletons in the cellar! What more could I have asked for!’

‘So, you’re not upset,’ I mumbled into her shoulder.

She kissed me and answered, ‘far from it.’